HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Learning to evolve: With a little help from my ancestors

Learning to fly is easy, if you are a bird. But why is it that birds learn so easily how to fly" It is well known that birds learn through practice, and that they gradually refine their innate ability into a finely tuned skill. According to a new theory by Dr Stone of Sheffield University, skills such as flying are easy to refine because the innate ability of today's birds depends indirectly on the learning that their ancestors did, which leaves a genetically specified latent memory for flying.

The theory has been tested on simple models of brains called artificial neural networks, which can be made to evolve using genetic algorithms. Whilst these networks do not fly, they do learn associations, and these associations could take the form of a skill such as flying. Using computer simulations, Stone demonstrates in a study, publishing in the open access journal PLoS Computational Biology, that the ability to learn in network models has two surprising consequences. First, learning accelerates the rate at which a skill becomes innate over generations, so it accelerates the evolution of innate skill acquisition. For comparison, evolution is slow if a network simply inherits its innate ability from its parents, but is not allowed to learn in order to improve this innate ability. Second, learning in previous generations indirectly induces the formation of a latent memory in the current generation, and therefore decreases the amount of learning required. It matters how quickly learning occurs, because time spent learning is time spent not eating, or time spent being eaten, which incurs the ultimate penalty for slow learners. These effects are especially pronounced if there is a large biological 'fitness cost' to learning, where biological fitness is measured in terms of the number of offspring each individual has.

Crucially, the beneficial effects of learning depend on the unusual form of information storage in neural networks, a form common to biol
'"/>

Contact: Johanna Dehlinger
press@plos.org
415-624-1202
Public Library of Science
30-Jul-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Learning a second language -- Is it all in your head?
2. Protein pulling -- Learning how proteins fold by pulling them apart
3. Learning how to help migrating swans find forage
4. Learning during sleep?
5. Learning how nature splits water
6. Learning global solutions to local problems
7. Learning to live with oxygen on early Earth
8. Learning the lessons of the worlds oldest ecological experiment
9. Learning the language of DNA
10. SNM Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment program modules approved by ABNM, ABR for CME credit
11. Learning to love bacteria: Stanford scientist highlights bugs benefits

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 25, 2021 , ... Phlexglobal announced ... Planet Group, has selected Phlexglobal and its innovative regulatory SaaS software, PhlexSubmission, as ... a comprehensive review of five regulatory software companies, with the review team including ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... 25, 2021 , ... The 2021 Virtual Conference on Clinical Trial Supply-Europe ... More and more, clinical trial supply conferences are featuring speakers and forums that ... Asymmetrex’s founder and CEO, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., presented a talk ...
(Date:3/23/2021)... ... March 23, 2021 , ... G-CON Manufacturing (G-CON), the ... by Matica Biotechnology (Matica Bio), a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing ... the cleanroom build out for its new GMP production facility in College Station, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 24, 2021 , ... ... Life Sciences and Healthcare firms of all sizes, adds depth to its team ... specialist. Pardillo, who earned his doctorate in computational chemistry from Florida International University ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 24, 2021 , ... ABI Wellness, ... and reporting approach designed under CEO Mark Watson, today announced a webinar dedicated ... featuring guest speakers Dr. Cameron Clark, Neuropsychologist and Founder of Sharp Thinking, and ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... ... The Xtalks editorial team is pleased to announce the launch of the ... joined by editorial team members Ayesha Rashid, Sydney Perelmutter and Mira Nabulsi to discuss ... including insights from industry experts. , The Xtalks Life Science podcast will feature ...
(Date:3/23/2021)... Conn. (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2021 , ... ... develops solutions for characterizing microbiome populations down to the strain level, recently unveiled ... applications. , Not all microbes are created equal: some are easy to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: